Man describes looking for help after plummeting off cliff - Tucson News Now

Man describes looking for help after plummeting off cliff

A.J. Ritchie talks to CBS 5's Greg Argos about his terrifying experience. A.J. Ritchie talks to CBS 5's Greg Argos about his terrifying experience.
Ritchie was in this white truck when the driver lost control and plummeted 400 feet off of a cliff. Ritchie was in this white truck when the driver lost control and plummeted 400 feet off of a cliff.
QUEEN CREEK, AZ (CBS5) -

At about 1 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30, 27-year-old A.J. Ritchie woke up to the feeling of weightlessness. The truck he was riding in had just plummeted off a cliff on State Route 88 near Fish Creek Hill.

"I woke up when we were airborne," said Ritchie. 

"I felt myself off of the seat and we started rolling and I knew we were going off a cliff. [The truck] rolled and rolled and rolled. I couldn't tell you how many times," he continued.

Ritchie, his girlfriend and two other friends were returning from a camping trip when the crash happened. After the truck stopped rolling after the 400-foot drop, A.J. said he knew he had to act fast. He was bleeding profusely from his head and his body was bruised, but he could still walk. His friends were in worse shape, so after making sure everyone was conscious, he started looking for help.

"I flew up the cliff pretty quick. I started walking, and I walked barefoot for about five miles," said Ritchie.

"What was going through your head that entire time?" asked CBS 5's Greg Argos.

"My feet hurt. That was pretty much it. I really need to find help and I really wish I had shoes on. I don't know where they went. They must have fallen off when we were flipping," responded Ritchie.

Hours later, Ritchie finally saw an SUV approaching the crash scene. He was covered in blood but still tried to wave down the driver.

"A gray Ford Escape actually drove around me in the middle of the road," recalled Ritchie. 

"A couple [was inside], and they swerved around me and just kept going. [They] didn't slow down. [They] didn't stop. That was about four hours into it and at that point it was pretty deflating," he said.

Finally, some seven hours after the crash, Ritchie was finally able to flag down help.

"I saw somebody park their car and get out. So I started screaming help. He finally got in his car and started driving towards us. He gave [my friends] water and drove me to Tortilla Flat, where I called 911."

Ritchie said he does not consider himself a hero. He's just glad he was able to find someone that could help out him and his friends.

"I was the only able-bodied person to climb out. I didn't have a choice. Anybody else would have done it," said Ritchie.

The three other people in the truck have been released from the hospital and are expected to make a full recovery.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Border Patrol responds to large group of immigrants in Arizona desert

    Border Patrol responds to large group of immigrants in Arizona desert

    Saturday, June 23 2018 10:38 PM EDT2018-06-24 02:38:11 GMT
    (Source: Border Patrol Tucson)(Source: Border Patrol Tucson)

    Border Patrol agents arrested a group of more than 50 illegal immigrants, including a pregnant woman, Friday afternoon west of Lukeville, according to a release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

    Border Patrol agents arrested a group of more than 50 illegal immigrants, including a pregnant woman, Friday afternoon west of Lukeville, according to a release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

  • Firework sales begin, can be lit starting Sunday

    Firework sales begin, can be lit starting Sunday

    Friday, June 22 2018 11:40 PM EDT2018-06-23 03:40:36 GMT

    The Fourth of July is creeping up quick, and that means several vendors like Desert Sky Fireworks on Cortaro and I-10 are getting ready for the season. The location set up shop on Friday.  "Lining them all up on the road -- lighting them all up and competing with the neighbors," said Ashley Walling, who runs the shop. Fireworks sparked her interest at an early age.   She started selling them when she was sixteen in ...

    The Fourth of July is creeping up quick, and that means several vendors like Desert Sky Fireworks on Cortaro and I-10 are getting ready for the season. The location set up shop on Friday. "Lining them all up on the road -- lighting them all up and competing with the neighbors," said Ashley Walling.

  • Volunteers clean graffiti out of Peppersauce Cave this weekend

    Volunteers clean graffiti out of Peppersauce Cave this weekend

    Friday, June 22 2018 9:53 PM EDT2018-06-23 01:53:32 GMT

    A popular spot for outdoor recreation has become overrun with graffiti once again. Dozens of volunteers will continue efforts to clean more than 1,500 graffiti tags around Peppersauce Cave this weekend. Central Arizona Grotto, a caving club out of Phoenix, has organized people from all over the state to help remove roughly 800 tags. Previous clean up trips by the group have already lifted approximately 750 tags, according to organizer Ray ...

    A popular spot for outdoor recreation has become overrun with graffiti once again. Dozens of volunteers will continue efforts to clean more than 1,500 graffiti tags around Peppersauce Cave this weekend. Central Arizona Grotto, a caving club out of Phoenix, has organized people from all over the state to he

Powered by Frankly